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E-Learning Development Grants


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Changing behaviour ELDG blog – Post-it mapping

Matt Jenner10 September 2013

This post was originally written by Elena, Harveen and Caroline – the team who received the ELDG grant:


BCT Taxonomy student site logo







On Thursday 29th August, Caroline Wood and her student developers, Harveen Kaur and I (Elena Panagiotopoulou) met to start thinking about mapping out content for the site. From our previous discussions and from reading this helpful e-learning blog on Articulate.com, we knew we had to carefully plan the sequence of activities that our students would be led through. At the beginning of our meeting, we used the ‘Silent Post-it technique’ to brainstorm independently on ideas about the content and what would make the site more engaging. We used post-its to write downour ideas and we then discussed them thoroughly one by one. Using the post-its, we created a flowchart in order to put the content in order:

Using 'Silent Post-it technique'

Capturing ideas – using ‘Silent Post-it technique’

Putting Post-its in order

Caroline, Harveen and Elena putting Post-its in order

As we’re all behavioural scientists on this team, we automatically started discussing how we could structure content using different behavior change techniques (BCTs) to increase the amount of time that our students want to spend on the site:

Techniques used
Set out learning objectives and outcomes of the module Setting of goals
A ‘buddy’ or character to guide students through the resource Providing social support
Series of interactive quizzes Practicing skills
Option to access resources anytime through quick links Practicing skills
Certificate available for students who complete all quizzes Positive reward
Quizzes will gradually become more difficult Graded tasks
There will be lots of examples and feedback during and after tasks Providing feedback
Positive reinforcement given throughout the tasks Support and praise
Timing! Providing an estimate of how long each task will take Setting of goals
Make the task topics relevant for students Relevant and personally useful problem solving
Building your own intervention task – something which they could build on for their 3rd year research project. Action planning for future learning
Know that their input will continue to improve this resource for them and for future students Engagement and involvement
Share with the students our journey in making this resource for them Engagement and involvement

At the end of our meeting, we had a more clear idea about the content of the site. Our next step will be to each take a section of the content and be responsible for building on Moodle.

What happens in a ‘Moodling’ session?

Caroline E Wood29 August 2013

BCT Taxonomy Student Moodle site

Designing learning activities in Moodle

On Friday 16th August, my student (Harveen Kaur) and I (Caroline Wood) met with one of our ELDG mentors (Vicki Dale) and Moodle expert Mira Vogel, E-Learning Facilitator, for a Moodling session. Mira has developed a site in Moodle for UCL users called An Elf’s Lair, and this, alongside the Moodle Features Demo by Rod Digges and colleagues, provided a focus for discussions about what is technically possible in Moodle as well as what is pedagogically advisable.

We are using Moodle to design an interactive, online resource as part of undergraduate teaching about the Behavioural Change Technique taxonomy (BCT). Students will be asked to review some introductory material on the Moodle site before exploring core theoretical foundations in two lectures. After the lecture, they will be expected to explore BCTs in action and build their skills on the Moodle site.

Mira encouraged us to think about what students will see when they first log on. As well as the site being visually stimulating and engaging, students need to be informed about learning objectives and other introductory information about how the resource fits into their programme. That is quite a lot on one page already, so we discussed how we might alternatively store some of this information as a course handbook or a downloadable file and just have the link to it available on the home page.

We also discussed different options for displaying content (text or other media) in pages, books and lessons. Pages are useful for displaying short sections of information. Books are useful for displaying information in a linear page-turning way. Lessons facilitate a non-linear experience; they can be used in the traditional ‘programmed learning’ sense where students’ progression is limited by their ability to complete tasks or questions successfully, or to offer a ‘Choose your own adventure’ experience to allow students to explore the ramifications of their actions in relation to a case simulation.

We also explored the possibility of controlled release of material in Moodle, and decided that the interactive components should be made available on the day of the lectures so that students can immediately apply theory to practice. On the Moodle site, students will be guided through a relevant example of a behaviour change intervention – the development of effective study habits. Throughout each of the exercises, students will be encouraged to revisit elements of the BCT Taxonomy framework; this will be facilitated by use of the Glossary tool.

One of our key discussions was how we could use quizzes for the interactive components. Our complete training programme, on which the Moodle site will based , involves a lot of discussion and opportunities for trainees to ask experts to explain anything they do not understand. This can be difficult to simulate online due to the fact that there are often no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers. Although students will be able to ask questions during the lecture, detailed feedback in the online quizzes is essential to further student understanding and clarify misunderstandings during independent learning. There are several ways in which we could do this. One solution might be to incorporate graphs of student responses from a previous face-to-face workshop, so that students can compare their own answers to those of a larger cohort.

Handy tips we picked up from our session included:

  • Tip #1: The ‘Paste from Word’ icon strips out unnecessary formatting when copying content into Moodle from any of the MS Office applications.
  • Tip #2: You can switch between teacher and student views of the course by going to the settings tab on the left hand side of the screen.
  • Tip #3: We could have entries from our glossary appear on the right hand side of the main screen to highlight definitions for different BCTs in the taxonomy.

We will be experimenting with the different features in Moodle and mapping out our content over the next couple of weeks before starting to commit to particular activities. We would really welcome useful suggestions and other handy tips, so please feel free to comment on which features you have found most useful in Moodle!

We are tweeting! @UCLTaxonomy

Changing behaviour online with Caroline Wood’s ELDG grant

Matt Jenner8 August 2013

As mentors for an e-learning project in the Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, Vicki Dale and I met with Caroline Wood, a recipient of an E-Learning Development Grant. Caroline’s ELDG project aims to develop an independent learning resource designed around a the Behaviour Change Technique Taxonomy (BCT v1) to provide guidance and support around the reporting and evaluation of behaviour change interventions, such as smoking cessation or increased physical activity.

The BCT taxonomy is one example of a framework that prompts intervention designers to report the individual techniques that they have used. There has been a significant amount of interest amongst professionals wanting to integrate this approach within their own research and practice and in turn, a high demand for training has been generated in their accurate application. The new e-learning resource will address this demand.

We were delighted to fund this project as it is covering a lot of ground for a potentially varied audience. The outcome of building an e-learning resource from a research department means a high level of engagement with teaching and learning for a group traditionally more focused on their research. By incorporating established e-learning techniques, the resource will serve to disseminate this research to a wider audience. The resource will be made for both internal and external audiences, resulting in applications of use beyond the institution.

Following an initial meeting with Caroline to discuss early ideas for the project and how it may work as an e-learning resource, Vicki and I met with Caroline and one of her PhD students, Harveen Kaur, who will be working on the project alongside fellow PhD student Elena Panagiotopoulou. In this second session we explored the existing materials and talked about how their value may be maximised harnessing the potential for interactivity offered by Moodle. While it was not assumed that Moodle would serve as the sole platform, there were requirements which kept aligning to the tools in Moodle. Unsurprisingly, a tool built for teaching and learning can have a habit of doing that!

The discussion lead to a brainstorming session about behaviour therapy and approaches for e-learning development. We captured the outcomes of the session via a whiteboard:

Caroline and Harveen capturing ideas

Caroline and Harveen capturing ideas

Here’s a closer view:

Caroline and Harveen capturing ideas

Caroline and Harveen capturing ideas

Generally speaking, the best ideas arise from regular meetings and discussion. We spent about two hours on this occasion talking about the existing materials, how they might be translated to the e-learning platform and considering how we might add value to the resource. At this stage the team now have a mutual understanding about the development of the online resource, with Caroline and her colleagues keen to learn more about Moodle, and Vicki and myself finding more out about behaviour change interventions!

Additional sessions are required to develop the new BCT e-learning resource. First of all Caroline, Harveen and Elena need a space in Moodle to try out new approaches, having barely used it before. Alongside this, we can spend time developing a storyboard or map of the e-learning resource around defined learning outcomes. This will define the structure which will guide future development and evaluation.